Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pippa's Journal - The End of the World...or just 2012?

This will be my last journal here for 2012, regardless of whether the world really does end on the 21st or not - personally I expect to wake up on the 22nd still intact but I won't be blogging for the 26th - I'll be recovering from Christmas Day! With my own blog set up with posts until the 6th January, my submission for the SFR Brigade anthology undergoing a final polish, and kids and hubs home for two weeks over Christmas, my chances of writing are small. Frankly after two attempts at NaNoWriMo this year, I think muse deserves time-out, although Christmas Day last year was when she sprang on me with a shiny new sfr, the one day I really cannot be writing. I'm hoping not to have a repeat. O.O

Neither Pitchmas or Pitchwars gained a request for Tethered, but that's not a bad thing. Both contests were an unexpected bonus, and the Pitchmas workshop for my 35 word and Twitter pitches was a genuinely useful experience. I also had good feedback from my three selected mentors in Pitchwars, even though they were all rejections. For one thing, all three gave me the same reason and a totally expected one - Tethered is too damn short. The expected industry length for scifi is 70-80K, and Tethered is just 43. What I did learn is that 70K is judged the minimum length required for decent world-building. As someone who has been complimented several times on my skill at world-building (excuse the lack of modesty on that point!), I dispute that fact. But in an industry where snagging an agent, particularly one who's heart lies in speculative fiction in the first place, is already a demanding task, do I really want to make it harder for myself by pitching something I know is under the word count required?
As someone with a tendency - a preference even - to buck the trend, it's a tough decision that leaves me with a quandary. The plan for Tethered was to submit it to my top two choices of publishers in early 2013. My number one choice of mentor paid me the highest compliment she could - that she didn't feel she could do anything to help me because I didn't appear to need it. She also, out of the blue, suggested my MS as a good fit for one of the publishers I'd already decided to submit it too. That made it seem like Fate. But do I stick with Plan A and submission, or do I look at the possibility of extending Tethered and making it my novel to pitch? I couldn't decide, although I know one area where I could add to the story without breaking it - not an extra 30K worth though. So, Tethered is now with my fabulous editor Dani to see what her feelings are on expansion. And while I fret over her findings and whether I have a 70K scifi left in me that isn't part of the Keir series already drafted, I have plenty of other things to work on.

My submission for the SFR Brigade is undergoing a final polish today. I need to have that finished and in by the 21st when my kids break up for Christmas. Edits for Gethyon will be arriving in the New Year and Tethered will either be going out on submission or being expanded. The future of Keir's Fall remains undecided. My two NaNoWriMo projects - dark superhero romance When Dark Falls and gritty space opera The Overlord's Consort - are projects for completion in 2013, and I'm hoping to finish and self-publish another short story after the good reception for Terms & Conditions Apply. And who knows what else muse might throw at me. I've also started plans for another SFR Brigade Blog Hop later in the year. The suggestion was for an Out Of This World theme, perhaps to boost the Brigade's anthology, and taking place over several days this time. Thoughts?

I'll also be doing a makeover of my blog and Facebook page, streamlining my social media platforms, and hopefully getting my website up and running. Here's a sample page of the site so far.

So what are your plans for 2013? Or do you think there's no point planning until after the 21st? :P

The Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop is on! I want to know your favourite Christmas film to get into the spirit for your chance at a $5 gift card here, and a Kindle Fire with books. From the 21st until the end of the year, Lyrical Press Inc. has a Doomsday sale - 75% off all titles -including Keir for just $1.25. Then it's Carrie-Ann Ryan's New Year Blog Hop on the 1st January. On the 31st I'll be taking a quick look back over the past year and noting some of the landmarks. Wow, but it was a cracking year!

Six Sentence Sunday is ending! For those of you who may have missed the announcements, the last Six Sentence Sunday posting will take place on the 27th January. I owe a huge debt to the site, in terms of boosting my confidence, compelling me to blog on a more regular basis, meeting a host of new authors, genres, writing styles and techniques, but also for introducing me to Laurie A. Green. But for that, I might never have discovered the SFR Brigade and the existence of the genre, nor met so many talented and fabulous people. I'm sorry to see it go.

Last week I posted an article to the SFR  Brigade group about the use of male pseudonyms in order to market scifi titles - check out the full details here. I already use a pen name but since it's a derivative of my real name I still feel it's 'me'. The idea of taking a completely false name, or a male or gender neutral one - even if it sold more books - feels completely wrong for me - and that's not a judgement on anyone who does it, just the reason I wouldn't do it myself. What are your thoughts?

On a purely selfish note, I discovered I have a page with my new publisher Champagne Books, and Gethyon is already up there with the blurb. I'm so excited! You can check it out here.

Ping Pong
Laurie, your post on not knowing what to blog about certainly struck a cord. As authors, we're encouraged to be active on social media - I've even noticed more small press publishers now making an active internet presence part of the submission requirements - but deciding what to blog about, or even coming up with ideas can be a struggle. A lot of social media gurus say you should be consistent, both in schedules, themes and content. Perhaps it's part of being a panstser, but I'm much more in favour of sponteneity - it's more natural, and you can't always plan for events in the news or new announcements of your own. But sometimes even the well of creativity for a short post runs dry!

Donna, what an inspiration Vey is! But I think it's also a wonderful example of the power of books and how the reading and writing of them can do wonderful things.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Successful New Year to my fellow co-bloggers on Spacefreighters Lounge, and to you all!


  1. Wow, what an info packed post, Pippa. Let me respond to just a few things.

    It sounds like the Pitchmas Pitchwars was a great exercise. Not so sure the length of Tethered is a problem. I'm pretty some of the e-pubs prefer shorter works. At any rate, best wishes in finding it a home. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I'd love to hear more about your Space Opera!

    So sorry to hear Six Sentence Sunday is ending. Did it just become too big too manage? I really enjoyed participating and met many great writers via the weekly posts (you included). I wonder if it could be done on a smaller scale for both the organizer and the participants. Maybe for Brigaders only? Hmmm. Must brainstorm this.

    Have a very happy holiday and we'll see you back on the blog next year. (Now that we know there will be a next year!)

  2. Thanks, Laurie.
    No, the length for Tethered isn't a problem in terms of finding epublishers, just apparently for pitching to agents. At the moment I'm leaning in favour of the original plan of subbing to a publisher.
    Lol, I was looking at the mess that is currently the space opera last night even though I'm now meant to be taking a break - it's a bit of a Dune/Chronicles of Riddick kind of story and nowhere near a finished first draft. It needs a lot more work yet.
    I think SSS just became too big. There are a couple of others - Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday and Sample Sunday. There's been talk of others starting up. The problem is the huge weekly commitment. I'm assistant admin for one, and even with a maximum of just 20 on a busy week, going round and checking them all takes time. SSS was close to the 200 each week. If one or more Brigaders had the time it would make for a great weekly event.
    Have a fabulous Christmas and A Happy Apocalypse-free New Ywar!

  3. Pippa,
    I am also in dismay to learn it's the end of Six Sunday! I am a recent joiner, just this spring, but agree with you that it has boosted my confidence and gotten me back to blogging. I also have a shortage of things to say on my blog, what I consider a public forum. I hate to repeat writing topics others have covered and hesitate to analyze every detail of my journey.

    So, where to go from here? I guess that's a question for my New Year goals!

    Thanks for your info and thoughtful post!

  4. Hi Laurel,
    thanks for stopping by. Well, there's always SampleSunday (never tried that) or for us scifi peeps there's SFFSAT - Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday - which is here -
    I have to admit to now posting my publishing journey more on SFL - it seems a better forum for it - and hosting more guest posts, blog hops and special events on my own blog. Still a struggle to think stuff up though!

  5. What if we organized one for Brigaders? Need to give this a little thought, but the idea appeals to me. What do you think?

  6. I think it's a great idea and would give the SFR blog a weekly workout if you were planning to do it from there. But as assistant admin for SFFSAT, where we only have 20 participants max, there is a fair bit of work involved, depending on how you want to work it. Setting up the inlinkz and a weekly sign-up post won't be any more work than the Amazon tagging party, but depending on numbers checking all the links are working, posts are live on time, and that they are in the guidelines set by admin (length, content, etc) will be the time-consuming part. Not trying to be negative but I have done some of this.

  7. Could always do a test run after SSS closes?

  8. I think a test run would be a great idea. And I think we should limit it to a set number of participants (say 20?) on a first come, first serve basis.

    Maybe we could skip the checking links and making sure the posts are live steps, and leave that responsibility to the participants. That way a lot of extra work doesn't fall to the organizer.

    What do you think?

  9. Let's give it a go. I'll post something to the SFR blog this month and set one up for the first week after SSS finishes. What about limits on length or content? Shall we just let people post snippets of their choice for the trial?

  10. Pippa, I'll send you an email. I think this is a great idea to pursue.

  11. Laurie and Pippa,
    Uh, oh. I hope you two don't hate me in the morning for getting you into this. Thanks, Pippa, I will check out SSFSAT, more of a mouthful than SSS, but looks promising, at least for this ms, for me. You two may be purely SF writers, but I tend to jump all over fantasy. Or have been, unless one terms it all 'speculative fiction.' Maybe that will stop with a new phase in my writing journey. :)

    Because you are proposing running a similar forum I am assuming the SSFSAT always fills the limit of 20?

    I'll speak up and say I like the 6 sentence limit. It has made me trim a few snippets that I'd like to get to a punch / hook end, but were too wordy before I dove in. Cutting the fat = always a good exercise. Also, that's about the length I want to pop around and read with my breakfast, and it's fun to see how others get a point across in that limit.

    As for content: yep, stick to SFR, that's the blog and maybe the narrow focus will draw readers. It's worth a try.

    I hear Pippa on the checking up on people; please don't add to your workload. Honor system is worth trying initially.

    Okay, that might be more than you needed to hear from me! But I'm excited to have an alternative. Thanks!

  12. Lol, laurel, I'm quite good at volunteering myself for extra duties. :P

    SFFSAT doesn't have a limit on entrants...yet. 20 is just the most we've had. We're a small group so far, but the founder (also a Laurel - Laurel Kriegler) is worried numbers may jump when SSS ends, so we're likely to have an upper limit of 50. It's also 10 sentences or less, speculative fiction or poetry, and no explicit content - Laurel wanted it suitable for any age to read snippets. (pssst, and I write the odd bit of fantasy too).

    Keeping the snippets short does make it a good exercise in being succint, but if we set a maximum rather than dead on six, it does give everyone more options, and with entrants limited means it shouldn't be the marathon SSS could sometimes be. But let's see how it goes. It won't be the only one to spring up once SSS ends, I'm sure.


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